Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Thank you

You are all so nice to be worried and I appreciate all the helpful suggestions about my lost pictures. I should have been more clear in telling you I do have all the pictures on the old laptop backed up on an external drive. I just never deleted the files on the laptop. I have a hard time deleting anything.

This is the way my birdfeeder looks when I’m shooting through the window, there are often reflections that bisect the feeder, but this was my first sighting of what I thought was a juvenile rose-breasted grosbeak. They love safflower seeds. Notice there are none on the feeder.

I also have most of the pictures over here on the new laptop too. So really, there was no reason not to delete a boatload of stuff off the old laptop to make room for the few pictures I wanted to find.

So I did.

I put some safflower seed out. And I waited. The cardinal was very pleased, it’s one of his favorites too.

I found most of what I remembered and downloaded those to the old laptop, then looked at them over there and emailed myself a few of them which I then downloaded to my new laptop.

I waited while other birds showed up looking for lunch.

Seems convaluted but it sort of worked. The hardest part was trying to find the photos I remembered from a couple weeks ago looking at little thumbnail images. But I got most of it.

I think.

Lots of other birds showed up.

I wonder why I have such a hard items deleting stuff when I know it’s being stored somewhere else and it’s just taking up valuable space.

And when I’m taking new pictures and sorting through them the image has to be really really bad for me to delete it. And if it’s family or Katie, well, even really really bad images get to stay.

Finally! See him down on the baffle, right at the level of the deck railing in this shot. See the beginning of the rose patch on his breast? He’s not at all sure about all the bird activity up above. In fact that might be another grosbeak landing!

Why is that?

I think one of the reasons I love taking pictures is that it preserves that moment in time, a moment that is already gone by the time the shutter shuts. And each moment seems so precious that even if the image is bad it’s still some sort of preservation.

Finally they both showed up. (This is the other one, and possibly an adult femail.)

I don’t think most people feel this way and I wonder where it comes from.

Anyway, today’s images are brought to you from deep in the memory card and a couple weeks ago when I had a juvinile rose brested grossbeak at the feeder. Maybe I had two, there’s one image with one on each end of the feeder.

They were adorable to watch.

They were only here for two days and I’m glad I got to watch them and capture their cuteness before they went on their way. I hope they come back next spring!

Immature male cardinal? Or just an older molting guy?


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A summer walk

I went out to one of my parks (not Katie’s, she doesn’t get to claim all of them) yesterday to go for a walk. It’s been too long since I’ve been there.

I think the last time I did four miles out there was late spring when the skunk cabbages were coming into their own and the air was fresh and little spring flowers were blooming along the edges of the forest.

Well, the air was still just fine, but the skunk cabbage is past it’s prime and now the flowers of late summer are in full bloom.

Four miles might have been a bit ambitious on a hot August morning. But I forget I’m not so young anymore, and only months ago I walked 4 miles regularly so it didn’t occur to me to be more conservative.

Heading out was marvelous, a breeze in my face, lots to look at. I didn’t really want to turn around at mile 2, but some part of my brain decided to be an adult and demanded I make the smart decision.

I was beginning to feel the need for a restroom break, and there was a bathroom at mile 3, only one more mile down the path. If I turned around I’d have two miles until I got to a toilet, but my brain calculated (it’s a proven fact that math is hard when you’re hot and sweaty and have to go to the bathroom) that if I went a mile further I’d have to walk six miles total, and six is a number much bigger then four.

So I turned around, and was doing just fine until that last 1.25 miles. Which is uphill and mostly in the sun. With no breeze. That mile was pretty miserable.

As I got to the steepest part of the walk, only a quarter mile long, but still, part of my brain began arguing with the other part. There was a lovely bench under a big old oak tree part of the way up.

I could sit on that bench for a spell. That’s why they put it there. For folks like me who could be categorized as elderly. Yep, could sit right there under that tree. Bet there’s a breeze there.

The other half of my brain argued back. Not going to sit on that d*#% bench. Sitting on the bench would delay arrival at the bathroom. And the car with it’s bottle of water.

But it’s a nice bench, there in the shade. No one else seems to want to sit there. It’s calling your name.

Not sitting on the d#*% bench.

Luckily my feet were not listening to the argument and just kept moving.

Oh but wait…there’s a big image of a painting from the Detroit Institute of Arts right there next to that bench. They’re advertising a collection being shown. There’s a short article next to it. You could go read all about it. In the shade. With the breeze. And you don’t have to sit on the bench.

A good solution, might even say a compromise, that pleased both parts of my brain and my feet didn’t mind either.

All the images in this post are from that walk, taken with my phone camera while moving along on a hot summer morning.


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Random thoughts from the yard

Covid has made me random in many ways. Random meals put together from whatever is here rather then running to the store to pick up a missing item. Random camping trips to get away while remaining isolated. Random walks through the yard instead of parks to avoid running into other people.

The sugar water is getting a little low, lady!

That’s not all bad, you understand. Some things we’ve learned to do during this strange time would benefit us to continue once the world returns to normal. If that ever happens.

Things like eating at home together instead of catching a meal on the fly. Doing with what’s in the pantry and not wasting gas and engery rushing to the store every day. Talking to neighbors on walks through the neighborhood instead of waving at them from your car as you drive somewhere else.

Three stages of bloom.

Recognizing your home is not such a bad place to be, even while yearning for exploration and adventure.

I was weeding when I noticed a large monarch butterfly hovering around a hydranga tree filled with beautiful white blossoms. Such a pretty image I went inside and got the camera.

Pink zinnia impersonating purple coneflowers.

Of course he (or she) wasn’t anywhere to be found when I got back outside. But lots of other things were.

The images in this post were from that brief weeding interlude. I should be content in my yard, it’s a pretty amazing place.

In the wild part of the yard.

But the road has always, and continues to, call me.

I have a friend in the UP (Upper Peninsulia of Michigan for those of you not from around here) who has a group of women friends that gathers regulary to camp, along the shores of Lake Superior or the banks of a river. They kayak and sit around the fire and talk and I wish I could be there too.

Centering.

I think I need to put together a group like that down here in lower Michigan. A few other women who like to camp and would like to camp together somewhere once in awhile.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my camping solitude too, and Katie and I love to spend that time together. But sometimes it would be nice to have a group of people who would like to explore together.

The light bounces.

So who’s in? Could we manage to socially distance while camping? Dogs or no dogs, tents or RVs, who’d like to go…and where?

Pink and green coexisting.

The possibilities are endless.

New possibilities.


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Cedar waxwings redux

A couple weeks ago I posted about the flying bits of gold I saw across the street over the neighborhood pond. Cedar waxwings, birds we don’t see very often, were chasing insects in the fading evening light. (For this post you really should click on the images to see them larger.)

Such a beautiful bird.

Two nights ago while eating dinner I caught a glimpse of gold over the pond again.

Their golden color glowed in the setting sun.

Last time I struggled with the dim light and the quick slivers of golden wing.

Artsy fartsy image.

Focusing was pretty much impossible.

Heading out looking for dinner.

So this time when I headed over with my camera fitted with the long lens I knew better then to try to get them flying across the pond.

Incoming!

And I knew just where the dead tree was that they landed in regularly to rest between flights.

A fly-over.

So that’s where I stayed, right below that tree, catching them coming and going.

Whatcha doing down there lady?

Still, I had to move the ISO up very high so there’s quite a bit of grain, especially when they’re cropped.

The lowering sun lit the birds up as they rested.

I like to think of those as art. So many of them show the elegence of these birds, in an almost stylized manner. I think some of these look like paintings rather then photographs.

And I’m OK with that.

Juveniles joined in as well.

Each of these images makes me smile. I hope you’re smiing too.


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Let’s take a vote, people!

Katie here. (Who else would come up with a title like that?)

As most of you are aware (but I was not), mama went camping up north at one of my favorite parks and in my all time favorite camp site. WITHOUT ME!

This was mama’s camp, site 43 at Hartwick Pines.

I thought she was just taking a really long time at the grocery store or something. You know she’s getting older and sometimes she wanders around for ages doing not much of anything. And other times she gets lost (she calls it exploring), so I wasn’t all that concerned that only daddy was feeding me and stuff. Cause mama is always around somewhere.

This was up at Pigion River Forest, where she was scouting out places to do photography.

Heck, lately I’m used to falling asleep right next to her and waking up to find she’s moved to another room! It’s hard to keep track of her, so sometimes I just don’t try.

She had beautiful weather, except for Monday night when it poured for hours.

But this time she was gone for 28 dog days! (That’s four days in human terms.) After awhile I got sort of sad, thinking I’d never see her again. I kinda like mama. But daddy is fun too, so like I said I wasn’t too worried.

There were lots of these pretty little blue flowers.

And then one afternoon I saw a shadow at the door and I knew daddy was right next to me on the sofa and I wondered, could it be, could it be mama came back to me??

One of the little lakes. Mama thought the stars would be pretty reflected here. But she didn’t go out there at night by herself.

And it was! And she smelled like smoke and marshmallows…and…and…she smelled like camping! CAMPING without ME?!?!?!

But it was pretty in the daylight.

I was all wiggle butt when she first came in and she picked me up and hugged me and then I realized the truth and I wanted down. I wanted down and I wanted to bark at her so I did.

A lot.

This trail is too long for me, so mama took advantage of not having me to hike it. Isn’t it beautiful?

Mama started unpacking the car and it became obvious that she had a great time and that great time had not included me so I barked at her some more. She got sort of annoyed, but not too much because she knew she was guilty.

Yep, my mama is always looking for light on things, even deep in the woods.

She said she didn’t pet any other dogs (as if that lets her off the hook) and she missed me a lot. She even said she got all teary eyed one evening remembering all the fun we have had camping in that very spot!

I don’t think mama was missing me while she was eating this!

She said the whole trip was sort of shadowed by the fact I wasn’t there, and she said the only reason I wasn’t was because it was so hot and she didn’t have an air condioned tent. She said I would have been miserable.

It’s a big park, up there, and I love to explore. Mama does too.

Sure mama.

Well. Maybe she’s right. Maybe she was only thinking of me.

I hope mama is reflecting on the error of her ways.

Let’s take a vote, people! Let’s hear from you! Do you think mama should not go on any more camping trips unless I get to go? Or do you think it was OK that she left me with daddy in my airconditioned house with my doggie beds and my special frozen banana treats?

Of course mama stopped to get a picture of a barn on the way home. More delays while I waited at home for her.

I’ll tabulate the results and present them to mama. (I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a camping trip out of this.) I’ll try not to make her feel bad, but that won’t be easy. She says she already feels really guilty.

She thought this was beautiful too. I say, no sheltie? Not pretty. Yep that’s what I say.

I think that’s fair. Don’t you?

Get those votes in everybody! This princess needs your support!

I think mama forgot, this is MY tent.


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Watching the sky

I’m in northern Michigan watching the sky. This makes me smile. I lost count of the number of shooting stars I saw last night. Never, of course, while my camera was recording.

Still, it was fun.

One more night and I’ll head home. Some little short furry thing is going to be upset if she finds out where I was. I’m camping in our favorite site at her favorite park. But she got air conditioning and I slept on the ground. I think it’s a wash.

She might not feel the same.


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Bits of gold flit over the pond

Last night, while eating dinner, I noticed a bunch of little birds, darting around like bats, over the pond across the street. What caught my attention was that they were glowing in the early evening sunlight.

What ARE those?

There’s a lot of shrubs and trees between me and the pond so I couldn’t get a very good look. But there seemed to be a flurry of unusual activity. All I usually see over there is one kngfisher, a heron and sometimes an egret.

Now I was seeing dozens of birds darting up and down and around above the water.

Darting around like bats, it was hard to get them in focus.

So after dinner I put my long lens on the camera and wandered over there. I tried to stay in the shadows so as not to spook the birds that were wheeling high overhead, then darting down near the water and back toward the trees.

Shooting into the sun was creating unrecognizable sillouettes.

With the sun so low they were lit up like gold ornaments, but I couldn’t get a good look at them myself. Staring into the sun I couldn’t even get the camera to focus on them, no matter how high I set the shutter speed.

A little bit of a hint here.

I was just about to give up when I noticed several of the birds were roosting in the dead branchs of a tree.

I think these might be….

But every time I moved to get a better angle they’d fly away. I wasn’t sure, but I was beginning to think I knew what they were.

Flashing a wing at me.

The distinctive shape. The flash of yellow on the tail.

If you love birds you’ve probably already figured out what they were. I never got really good pictures, but it was fun trying.

And if you guessed cedar waxwings you’d be right!

I got much better images of cedar waxwings last year at a rest stop, but this little photo shoot, resulting in not much more than out of focus blobs, was fun too.

And then the sun lit up the thistle.